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2.0 singer Sid Sriram: My musical journey with AR Rahman is filled with personal milestones

2.0 singer Sid Sriram, in an exclusive chat with Hindustan Times, talks about his songs for the Rajinikanth starrer, his experience working with AR Rahman and more.

regional movies Updated: Nov 06, 2017 19:13 IST
Priyanka Sundar
Priyanka Sundar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
2.0,AR Rahman,2.0 songs
Singer Sid Sriram has lent his voice for AR Rahman’s songs Endhira Logathu and Rajaali to be featured in Rajinikanth starrer 2.0.

Sid Sriram started with Adiye, and most recently sang Endhira Logathu and Raajali Nee Gaali. The music for this album is composed by AR Rahman, the same man who introduced Sid Sriram to us. Adiye in Kadal happened to be a song that moved away from the generic love numbers. Sid’s voice suited the song to the tee. The first number was a hit. Then we heard Ennodu Nee Irundhal, Yennai Maatrum Kadhale, Thalli Pogathey and Maruvaarthai among many others, before his tracks for 2.0. In a freewheeling chat with Hindustan Times, the singer speaks about AR Rahman, his journey in the film industry and more.

2.0 and working with AR Rahman
So from then to now, how has the experience of singing for AR Rahman been? Sid Sriram says, “My musical journey with AR Rahman is filled with personal milestones and realisations. I would call it a dream come true. Even the way I met him, or how I heard from him, stand out. I was taking a semester off from college in 2010, when I had heard from him. I had sent him one of my covers that had got about a million hits then. He responded, asked me if I can sing in Tamil and that is how Adiye recording happened in 2011-2012.”

He adds, “What stands out the most is the lessons that I learnt from him. It has been five years now, and it is crazy,” he recalls. “My heart stopped when I saw his response. Growing up, everyone dreams of certain things, and they map out a direction that their life would take. Working with AR Rahman sir is one of my dreams, if not the biggest dream, realised.”

Did he know initially that he was recording for Shankar’s 2.0? “I had heard that Rahman sir was working on 2.0 when I recorded for ‘Rajaali’. And when I recorded, ‘Endhira…’ Shankar sir was also present. ‘Endhira’ especially is quite incredible,” he explains.

After having heard both, it is apparent that Sid is back with two interesting songs. The electronic and hip hop influence in ‘Endhira’ or the grand ‘Rajaali’, it is not something that we would hear often. Do composers intentionally choose him for such songs? “I can’t say if they do it intentionally. But, I know when I hear something, if my voice can give the magic that the song needs. I am surely happy to be breaking away from the norm when it comes to my songs.”

Gautham Vasudev Menon and Maruvaarthai
Two of the most popular Sid Sriram songs happen to be Thalli Pogathey and Maruvaarthai, both for Gautham Vasudev Menon’s movies. While Thalli Pogathey was composed by AR Rahman, it was recently revealed that Maruvaarthai was composed by Darbuka Siva. How is his rapport with the director? “He is someone that I look up to. I trust his vision and judgement. When it comes to Maruvaarthai, I have said many a time that Carnatic music drives my creative influence. In that sense, Darbuka Siva gave me a lot of room to breathe with the melody. The instrumental, however, was grounded. The lyrics is just poetic, and phonetically they sound beautiful. I remember thinking if I could do justice to the song, and recording it was special,” he recounts.

The restrung version of this song was released recently by GVM, and in the video, Sid says, “This song, it works in so many different contexts and genres.” The reason why he said that was because he feels that some of the most “amazing compositions can be used in different context, and yet the melody carries it everywhere.”

Clash of genres
Sid is also known for covers where he has infused Carnatic and R&B beautifully. Does something like that come naturally? “I didn’t feel the need to force things together. Also, intellectually, there is so much that I can do with Carnatic, which also happens to be the backbone of my music knowledge,” he said.

Even when speaking of performances that changed his life, Sid recalls attending a live Radiohead concert and an instrumental performance of jazz vilionist, Regina Carter. Other than this, he also mentions the many kutcheris (Carnatic music festival held in Chennai in December) that he has attended.

Insomniac Season with DJ Khalil
Other than playback singing, Sid is also working on his album, Insomniac Season for the last three years. He has collaborated with DJ Khalil on the same and according to him, the music in this album “is the perfect representation of all things that make me who I am.” He also explained that the album itself touches upon different moods that one is in while spendings nights not sleeping. Speaking about DJ Khalil, the Thallipogathey singer said, “He is another mentor who pushed me to work on my craft and make a statement.”

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First Published: Nov 06, 2017 19:08 IST